It feels like summer just started, but according to the calendar, Labor Day weekend is just around the corner. Time certainly does fly! This weekend offers the chance for one more sunny season celebration before fall arrives.
While this Labor Day, along with pretty much everything else in 2020, is bound to look a little different—especially with many annual events being canceled—there are still plenty of ways to celebrate in the Ann Arbor area! Whether you want to enjoy a peaceful day exploring the Michigan wilderness or want to take advantage of a local restaurant patio, we’ve got you covered.
Throw a Socially Distanced Soirée
Throughout the past few months, we have been astounded by the tenacity and perseverance of Michiganders, even in spite of a worldwide pandemic. Many people have transformed their scheduled events, including weddings, graduation parties, Fourth of July celebrations and more, into socially distanced parties. And you can do it too this Labor Day weekend! Just invite all your friends over and enjoy a fun party from the comfort of all your cars. Or set up bunches of chairs 6 feet apart and settle in for a warm summer night of fun and friendship.
Go For a Bike Ride
Ann Arbor is a bike-friendly city with more than 87 miles of bike lanes, over 900 bike parking spaces downtown and, of course, plenty of incredible bike trails to explore! One of our favorites is the Border-to-Border trail, which currently consists of 40 miles of trails perfect for biking, walking, jogging and more throughout Washtenaw County. Click here for more information about B2B from Washtenaw County’s website, including a map, a destination list and information on future construction.
Take Advantage of a Local Patio
When the weather heats up in Ann Arbor, our usual craving for local food, Michigan beer and artisan cocktails combines with our need for summer sunshine. The ideal places to satisfy that desire include garden patios, beer gardens, and patios bathed in cozy string lights or shaded by trees along Main Street. And with social distancing measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more restaurants are moving their business outside to give their patrons room to spread out. Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Saline are just a few local towns that have closed down streets to allow restaurants to open makeshift patios in the street. So this Labor Day weekend, take advantage of all the outdoor dining opportunities! If you’re looking for recommendations, we even have a list of the best outdoor patios in Ann Arbor for you to visit.
Have an Outdoor Family Barbecue
It’s a three-day weekend, which in itself calls for a special dinner to celebrate. And even though you can’t throw a big bash this year, you can still create a few summer recipes from local bloggers to enjoy with just you and your own.
Rachel from Rachel Cooks is a Michigan blogger with a love of summer recipes. Just check out this Fresh Tomato Tart with Herbed Ricotta recipe that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Looking for something more kid-friendly? You can’t go wrong with these Air-Fried Chicken Nuggets.
Lori, a Detroit-based culinary school graduate, loves to share delicious recipes on her blog, Foxes Love Lemons. She even has an entire post about epic summer barbecue foods that includes an Heirloom Tomato & Beet Salad, Beer Brats with Beer Queso and Peach Pie Ice Cream Bars. You can read it here.
Take a Hike
We can’t think of a better way to enjoy the long weekend than escaping to nature! Luckily, the Ann Arbor area is home to more than 150 parks and a plethora of state recreation areas and open spaces for you to explore. No matter what your skill level is or how long you feel like hiking, we promise there’s a local trail offering perfect views just for you. Check out The 17 Best Places to Go Hiking Near Ann Arbor, Michigan for a few recommendations!
Go to the Farmers’ Market
Photo courtesy of the Ann Arbor Farmers Market
The end of summer means the end of farmers’ market season! Many local markets are closing up shop this month or in early October, so make sure to take advantage of any markets going on during this long weekend! Many of our local markets, from the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market to ones in Dexter and Ypsilanti, are now offering online ordering, curbside pickup and more so you can enjoy them even when social distancing. Click here to see what local farmers’ markets are up to this season.
Watch a Summer Movie
When all else fails—settle in for a movie night! Pretty soon you’ll be putting out the fall decorations and cozying up with Halloween favorites, so get in all those summer blockbusters while you still can. If you’re looking to keep your movie night local, check out our list of movies and TV shows that are set in Michigan!
Take a Scenic Drive
This long weekend is a great opportunity to explore everything the Ann Arbor area has to offer! Pack a picnic, load up the car and put on your favorite road trip playlist—because you’re going on an adventure. Luckily, you don’t even have to go that far for a fun drive. The Ann Arbor area is packed full of scenic areas that you can explore away from other people. Need some inspiration? Check out our list of The Best Scenic Drives Around Ann Arbor.
Get Ice Cream
You’re going to need a sweet treat to reward yourself after all that adventuring, and there’s no doubt that ice cream is the universal favorite when it comes to summer desserts. Next time you and your family are screaming for a scoop, shake or a sundae, check out our list of the top ice cream shops in the Ann Arbor area. These spots are sure to satisfy even the most stubborn sweet tooth!
Happy Labor Day!
How will you spend the long weekend? Let us know in the comments!